Guest Editorial: Fairfield Animal Shelter Needs County’s Help

In consideration of the unacceptable overcrowding of the Fairfield County Animal Shelter, let’s look at how many animals the shelter brings in every year and how many go home or find placement:


  • 848 cats in
  • 477 cats out


  • 636 dogs in
  • 521 dogs out


  • 610 cats in
  • 395 cats out


  • 646 dogs in
  • 430 dogs out

Please, let the numbers sink in. 

The majority of animals leaving our shelter go into ‘rescue.’  We are very fortunate to have wonderful leadership from our Animal Control Director Joanne Shaw, our rescue coordinator, Samira Yaghi, and three different groups of volunteers working hard for one common goal – to improve animal welfare in the county. They work tirelessly.

If passed in its entirety, our proposed animal ordinances will absolutely over time have a positive impact on the number of animals entering our shelter.

The high volume is directly a result of lack of spay/neuter surgeries, lack of owner responsibility and the shelter’s lack of resources.  Neglect and abuse is at its worst, and the number of strays and even packs of feral dogs is on the rise.  We look forward to the second reading of the proposed ordinances and, hopefully, full support of council.

What Are the Needs?

So, what are the needs of the shelter, and how can the county help? 

A Class 3 Officer: First of all, we need a fully staffed department with at least one Class 3 officer, something I have discussed with our previous director, Mr. Innes, and Sheriff Montgomery for years.

A Veterinarian: Second, our shelter desperately needs a veterinarian. Not only for our shelter bound animals, but also for our citizens in the county who need basic vet care and spay/neuter surgeries.  If we had a veterinarian, shelter staff would no longer have to transport animals for surgeries and treatments costing them time and money, and our citizens in the county would benefit greatly as well.  This is a good business decision that we have been requesting for years. 

We know there are huge needs at the shelter and there are three organizations that regularly donate to help meet those needs. 

Hoof and Paw donates thousands of dollars annually to fund spay/neuter surgeries of shelter animals and also provides heartworm treatment when needed and assistance with emergency medical bills.  We also donate to the non-profit Because of Roscoe to assist in their efforts as a fund raising arm for the shelter also providing community spay/neuter surgeries and transportation and much more.

Another group brings in a mobile vet unit to the Clock in Winnsboro every month providing appointments for 30 to 80 animals with Pets Inc. veterinarians. It is reported that 75% of those animals have not been spayed or neutered.

A New Facility

Third, we desperately need a new facility for our animals!

We realize that fire, emergency care and law enforcement are crucial to a safe community and need to be considered first. While we are some years away from a new facility even if we started tomorrow, that does not mean that we can’t plan for one in the future.


In the meantime, we need to make some serious and meaningful updates and improvements to our current facility to bring it up to a humane level of care.  The improvements are urgent and should not wait. Just one example at the top of the list is that every animal must be housed humanely in a dry space that is appropriate in size for the animal. No dog should be living in a small crate meant  for temporary use only or live out in the elements.  There are so many more, but not enough time to discuss each issue.


On behalf of Hoof and Paw, I respectfully ask council to allocate $100,000 in the budget for immediate improvements to our existing facility.  We must bring our shelter up to a humane level of care.

Each year we come to council and administration with serious needs – not wants, but needs – and each year animal welfare for this county is placed on the back burner.

I am hopeful that this will be the year, and that you will be the council that will help.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]